Thursday, December 30, 2010

A little stroll in Texas found

A grasshopper carcass

Raccoon tracks

Horse poop y more horse poop

A black y red beetle (correction from khubz, a stink bug)

Mesquite trees for climbing

Tall grass for hide y seek

A fossil

Mud for rolling around in

Daddy long legs (Texas sized)

A triangle shaped rock

A hidey hole where a creature had burrowed (mongoose? Badger? Ostrich?)

A surprise bush of Rosemary

An abandoned birds nest

Moss y lichens for observing up close

Cactus plants for observing from afar

A horse that shook mud on us after letting us pet her

Glorious amounts of wonder in my children (and myself)

Monday, December 20, 2010

i am so not into it today.

the kids are eating candy canes at the kitchen table and I just don't feel like being with them. Or anybody. I've been a snarky, shrill, bitchy mom. And (surprise, surprise) the kids have been bonkers and naughty.

Today would have been a great sick day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

scratch paper

I need to do more writing. The best thing for me is to just write without worry about content, style, whether or not it sucks, whether or not it is actually painful to a reader. So just let it be. And I'll see if this gets me writing.

can fly

Glitter can fall up
but first it must pour down
sparkle, ripple, shimmer
pour out and across
shining waterfall fall
down down
onto the table.

Now we crouch
just below
lips looking upwards
b l o w

glitter can fly

Friday, December 17, 2010


Things that make homeschooling attractive

  • I want Khubz and Thumper to have a natural rhythm to their days. If she is reading (and she is) I don't want her to stop just to pull out a different subject when a bell rings.
  • Meals together. Kids have 20 minutes for lunch in school. 20 minutes. That feels like a child-stuffing factory, not a place where kids refresh, recharge, eat and share.
  • Appropriate choice. Khubz will be 5 when she starts kindergarten. A five year old should not be making choices about white milk or chocolate milk. Nutrition is my responsibility. Not hers.
  • Public schools will put my kids in the wider world. Bratz dolls, "faggot" and "bitch", and romantic mythologies about the pilgrims are all things I'd like to avoid.
  • Learning about the world in context seems practical, interesting and manageable.
  • Public schools have been put in a position of constant crisis, where the survival of their system is at risk if they cannot produce test scores. I believe a system will always protect itself before pursuing loftier goals like "educating" my children.

Things that make public schools attractive

  • I believe in public schools, public parks, public libraries, public ventures. I believe in them and their messy compromises. We will never have truly inclusive public ventures if critics and/or those on the margins stop showing up.
  • My children get to know themselves in a different way when they have some space away from me. I don't like saying that. But I think its true.
  • Public schools will put my kids in the wider world. They will meet people I don't know (maybe new friends), see many ways of living in the world (different kinds of families, a diversity of abilities/disabilities, economics)
  • I have no idea how I would actually do it. Especially with Thumper.

I heard a rumor my school district offers an opt-in half day kindergarten. Inshallah. I think that would be my best answer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And today

Thumper learned how to open a closed door.

Monday, December 13, 2010

106 years old

I was listening to iowa public radio and they interviewed this woman who was 106 years old. Her favorite time to remember was in the 1930s. Also known as the great depression. And why? Because "life seemed simpler. My children were young and I didn't have the kind of worries that I have now."

Ok. Point taken.
In honor of embracing the simplicity of small children. Let me present Khubz's gingerbread girl.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

5 things

that I am proud of.

1. She is extremely polite. I know 4 year olds are necessarily "considerate" but I think she generally cares about my feelings. She knows that tone is important. "Please" and "thank you" are regulars with her. She was "snack friend" for preschool and upon picking her up the very first thing she told me was, "Mommy--everybody sure liked the oatmeal cake! Even Vinny!"

2. She is impressed with herself and she enjoys letting people know that she is impressed. Case in point? After visiting the science center where a woman was impressed that Khubz boldly pet a snake, Khubz announced loudly everywhere she went "and I pet a snake and was NOT afraid!"

3. She loves reading. She just loves being in the company of books. We often go in to kiss her goodnight and find that she has snuggled up with a book to fall asleep with. She also mouths the words as you read out loud--even if she doesn't know the book. She will repeat it after you in a whisper. Her teacher suggested she is trying to memorize the book for when she reads it to herself later. I think she's right.

4. She sees destruction as a form of construction. For example, pulling all of the pillows off of the couch=creation of a space ship or tunnel or building.

5. She has finally stopped trying to climb the christmas tree. Thank god.

1. He loves to count. He doesn't associate it with a number of objects but he enjoys the pattern of "one, 'oo, 'ree, 'our, 'ivef, SIXXX, 'even, eight, 'ine"

2. He is working very hard of curbing his biting. We have teething toys all over the house and whenever he seems wound up or tired or at a loss he bites down on the "chewy." It is not easy. He really enjoys the sensation of biting down on soft, pillowy flesh. But the teething toys are helping and he is really trying.

3. He asserts himself. Into Khubz's play, into the mommies' laps, into the mix. He declares loudly "bigkidd!" and dismisses the idea that he is a second class citizen. He is ready for the world--didn't you get the memo?

4. He loves reading. At the end of a quiet night, after bath, Khubz and Thumper and I spread books out in a 180 degree arc around us on the floor. Then we steadily make our way through the "reading party." And Thumper loves to pick the next book, point out key turns in the plot, turn the pages and show me which bunny or dog or snowflake on the page is him.

5. He tells us when he poops. Not always. 90% of the time. That's pretty good. He still dashes away after making his announcement. But I still appreciate the heads up.

1. She took three days off for her birthday. Day one was get things done around the house. Day two was take me and the kiddos to the science center and out to lunch for a fantastic family day. And then she and I went out to dinner for some mommy time. It was a perfect day. Day three was alone time for her, dissertation time, down time, quiet time. Everybody had everything they needed without resentment, jealousy over time, frustration or feeling overwhelmed. It is really hard to create balance with precious and rare days off. Scully did this masterfully and we had one of the best weeks of our married lives.

2. My SJP friend is visiting this weekend and Scully has been all over the kids. SJP and I have had loads of grown up alone time. It is really nice.

3. She organizes the kids each weekend to clean the house. And not only do the kids actually get involved but the house actually gets clean.

4. There's been a lot of soul searching and reflection about the last two years since our big move. Introspection = super attractive quality in a mate.

5. She can parallel park that enormous truck of hers into any space imaginable and, strangely, it really works for me.

My own fine self:
1. I have worked very hard the last two years to make some local friends. It is quite intimidating to hand your number to some random woman and "hope" she likes me enough to meet up at a park. It feels a bit like high school in some ways. But I really have met some cool women. We are all still getting to know each other but I am making friends.

2. I am blogging. At least this post right now.

3. Every single day I read to the kids. Every single day we make some sort of art. Every single day we move our bodies at a park or play pals or dancing around to the fabulous tunes of Dan Zanes.

4. I am volunteering at the local domestic violence/sexual assault project. I don't hang out in the volunteer office but go out with crafts, or art or Uno cards or whatever to actually engage with people. When no one is around, I do the dishes or clean. My mantra is "there must be a purpose!" In other words, I am not volunteering to hang out in an office. I must create some sort of change even if that is just clearing away the dirty dishes.

5. I am listening to Democracy Now again. It makes me feel like a thinking person. It makes me think and question and grapple with questions of colonialism, power and voice. And I do believe I need to take more action on these issues but, frankly, I am happy to just be in the company of these questions again. They feel like old friends and I have missed them.